SOUTH KOREA Donor Profile - Donor Tracker

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SOUTH KOREA Donor Profile - Donor Tracker
                                  Donor Profile

Vietnam is the largest recipient of South Korea’s development assistance, mostly as loans

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SOUTH KOREA Donor Profile - Donor Tracker
South Korea Donor Profile

                                      SOUTH KOREA
                                             at a glance

               ODA funding trends
               •• South Korea is the 15th-largest donor country. It spent US$2.4 billion on
                 total official development assistance (ODA) in 2018. This corresponds to
                 0.15% of gross national income (GNI).

               •• South Korea became a member of the Development Assistance Committee
                 (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
                 (OECD) in 2010. The government is committed to increasing its ODA and
                 strengthening its commitment to international cooperation. Net ODA in-
                 creased by 6% from 2017 to 2018, driven by increases in bilateral aid.

               •• ODA is expected to reach 0.2% of South Korea’s gross national income (GNI)
                 by 2020 and further aims to reach an ODA level of 0.3% of GNI by 2030.

               Strategic priorities
               •• The ‘Strategic Plan for International Development Cooperation for 2016-
                 2020’ outlines the current strategic priorities of South Korea’s development
                 policy and indicative volumes of ODA. It specifies that the country will
                 continue to channel around 40% of its ODA in the form of loans.

               •• According to the ‘2020 Annual Implementation Plan for Development Co-
                 operation’, funding is expected to focus on five sectors: transport, health,
                 education, Information Technology (IT) and water hygiene and sanitation

               •• The 2020 Implementation Plan calls for greater synergies between loans
                 and grants, stronger partnership with civil society and international or-
                 ganizations, and increasing investments in priority sectors, including hu-
                 manitarian assistance.
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South Korea Donor Profile

               •• South Korea will likely continue to focus its bilateral investments on trans-
                 port and energy infrastructure in Asia, a large share of which in the form of
                 loans. 11 of its 24 priority countries are in Asia.

               •• South Korea will better align the mid-term strategy and implementation
                 plan with the government's foreign and national policies and strategies in-
                 cluding the New Southern Policy and the New Northern Policy.

               •• South Korea hosted the inaugural international conference on ‘Action with
                 Women and Peace’ in July 2019, bringing together stakeholders from the
                 global development and security community to discuss and develop con-
                 crete solutions to issues including sexual violence in conflict.

               •• South Korea is expected to continue increasing its ODA in years to come,
                 and a large part of the anticipated additional funds have yet to be allocated.
                 This provides opportunities to engage with the South Korean government
                 and shape the direction of development policy moving forward.

               •• South Korea will host an inaugural international conference on ‘Action with
                 Women and Peace’ in 2019. The goal is to bring together stakeholders from
                 the global development and security community to discuss best policy
                 practices and bring attention to the issue.

               •• South Korea expects to host the fifth ‘Busan Global Partnership Forum’ in
                 late 2019. The forum will bring together stakeholders to reinforce commit-
                 ment to and track progress toward the Busan Principles of development ef-
                 fectiveness that came out of the 2011 ‘Fourth High Level Forum of Aid Effec-

               •• The South Korean government will develop its third strategic plan covering
                 2021-2015 during 2020. Publication is expected in late 2020.

               •• South Korea will host the second international conference on ‘Action with
                 Women and Peace’ in June or July 2020.
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South Korea Donor Profile

                                          KEY QUESTIONS
                                                     the big six

How much ODA does South Korea provide?

South Korea is a small yet growing donor; govern-
ment plans to increase ODA to 0.2% of GNI by 2020                   Further information: 2017 prices

The Republic of Korea (referred to as South Korea in this           To compare ODA levels in any given year with ODA
profile) is the 15th-largest donor country: It spent US$2.4         levels provided in other years, figures need to be
billion on ODA in 2018 (current prices). This corresponds           adjusted to account for inflation and exchange rate
to 0.15% of South Korea’s gross national income (GNI),              fluctuations. The OECD provides data that accounts
making South Korea the 24th-largest donor in proportion             for these fluctuations. In this profile, and unless
to its economic size.                                               indicated otherwise, figures are stated using 2017
These numbers are based on the new methodology for
measuring ODA loans which the OECD DAC will apply to
ODA reporting for 2018 onward. Preliminary ODA figures
for 2018 using this new methodology were first released          tween 2017 and 2018, mainly due to an increase in bilat-
in April 2019. This methodology, called ‘grant-equiva-           eral aid). South Korea was itself an ODA recipient until
lent’ methodology, provides a more accurate way to count         1995.
donor efforts in concessional ODA loans because only the
‘grant’ portion of loans, expressed as a monetary value, is      In 2019, the total ODA budget is set to increase to KRW3.2
counted as ODA. South Korea makes extensive use of               trillion (US$2.8 billion). The government’s ‘Strategic Plan
ODA loans (37% of bilateral ODA in 2017). As a result, ODA       for International Development Cooperation for 2016-
figures according to the new methodology were 3% below           2020’ plans for ODA to increase gradually to 0.2% by
net ODA according to the previous methodology, known             2020. The government aspires to reach an ODA level of
as the ‘cash basis’ methodology.                                 0.3% of GNI by 2030.

To allow for comparison overtime, the OECD still pub-            In 2017, South Korea reported that 11% of its bilateral ODA
lishes net ODA disbursements according to the cash basis         (US$167 million) targeted gender equality and women’s
methodology. Between 2010 (when it became a DAC                  empowerment as either a significant or principal goal of
member) and 2016, ODA steadily increased. It dropped in          the development activity. This is below the DAC average
2017, before coming back to 2016 levels in 2018 (+6% be-         of 39%.

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                                          KEY QUESTIONS
                                                    the big six

What are South Korea’s priorities for global

Promoting rural development remains a key priority
                                                                   Key development funding priorities for 2016 to
The ‘Framework Act on International Development Co-                2020:
operation’, first published in 2010 and amended in 2018,
outlines the overarching principles of South Korean de-            •• Increased ODA: Gradually increase total ODA to
velopment cooperation and clarifies the responsibilities                 0.2% of GNI by 2020 (2017: 0.14%)
of different actors. The Framework Act sets out six ‘basic
ideas’ for development: poverty reduction, human rights,           •• Focus on bilateral ODA: Maintain ratio of bilateral/
gender equality, sustainable development and humani-                     multilateral ODA of 70:30 (2017: 74:26)
tarianism, economic cooperation, and peace and pros-
perity in the international community. The latest amend-           •• Keep grant/loan ratio: Maintain ratio of ODA
ment added support to developing countries in achieving                  provided as grants vs. loans at 60:40 (2017: 61:39)
the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and protect-
ing the human rights of adolescents as objectives of
South Korea’s development cooperation.
                                                                Within the five-year Strategic Plan, South Korea’s devel-
The ‘Strategic Plan for International Development Coop-         opment cooperation is guided by an annual document
eration for 2016-2020’, Korea’s second published in 2015,       that outlines specific priorities, the ‘International Devel-
translates the Framework Act into concrete strategic pri-       opment Cooperation Action Plan’. The 2019 International
orities for medium-term development policy and indica-          Development Cooperation Action Plan, published in Jan-
tive volumes of ODA. It prioritizes increasing develop-         uary 2019, outlines five sector priorities: transport,
ment assistance to economic infrastructure and                  health, environment, education, and agriculture and
environmental policy issues, alignment with the SDGs,           fisheries. The 2020 action plan will continue to prioritize
funding girls’ health and education, and agricultural de-       transport, health and education but will also include a
velopment. It also places a strong focus on transparency,       focus on IT, and water hygiene and sanitation (WASH),
accountability, and sustainability in development pro-          sectors where Korea has a comparative advantage. Grant
jects. The foreign ministry and wider government have           assistance will be prioritized in four sectors: education,
started discussions on the third Strategic plan covering        health, public administration and agriculture and rural
2021 to 2025. These discussions are expected to continue        development.
until the plan goes through an approval process with the
Committee for International Development Cooperation             South Korea has strengthened its action related to em-
(CIDC) expected in late 2020.                                   powerment of women and girls including through open-
                                                                ing a UNFPA office in Seoul in February 2019 and launch-
A key priority of South Korea’s development policy is to        ing the ‘Action with Women and Peace’ initiative, as well
promote inclusive and sustainable rural development             as strengthened efforts to tackle gender-based violence.
based on ‘Saemaul Undong’ (the ‘New Village Move-               The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has committed
ment’). Saemaul Undong was a community-based ap-                KRW1.1 billion (US$1 million) to UNFPA to implement
proach that South Korea applied in the 1970s to raise the       Korea’s Action with Women and Peace initiative.
standard of living in rural parts of the country. Although
the movement is associated with former President Park           In October 2018, the South Korea government adopted
Chung-hee, the father of impeached President Park Ge-           two policies to guide its future foreign relations: the ‘New
un-hye, it has retained support from the current govern-        Northern Policy’ and the ‘New Southern Policy’. With
ment. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOI-          these policies, South Korea plans to strengthen its en-
CA), the Ministry of Public Administration, and regional        gagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Na-
governments are still implementing Saemaul Undong               tions (ASEAN) and India as well as expand its involve-
projects. Rural development is expected to remain a pri-        ment in regional infrastructure connectivity projects
ority of South Korean ODA, and Saemeul Undong will              (such as railways and power generation) in cooperation
likely remain a key program for implementation.                 with North Korea, Russia, China, and former Soviet
                                                                States in Central Asia. These policies will likely strength-

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en South Korea’s ongoing development focus on infra-           Association (UNFPA), and the UN Office for Project Ser-
structure activities in the Asian region.                      vices (UNOPS) for 2019. Following the Fourth High Level
                                                               Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) in Busan in 2011,
In addition to its thematic initiatives, the government        South Korea has hosted regular ‘Busan Global Partner-
has become more active in global debates around devel-         ship Forums’ to bring together stakeholders to reinforce
opment in recent years. In 2019, Cho Hyun, the perma-          commitment to and track progress against the principles
nent representative of South Korea to the United Nations       agreed. The fifth ‘Busan Global Partnership Forum’ is in
(UN), was elected president of the executive board of the      December 2019.
UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Family Planning

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                                          KEY QUESTIONS
                                                     the big six

How does South Korea spend its ODA?

Focus is on bilateral ODA; new multilateral ODA
strategy highlights aim to enhance effectiveness                    South Korea’s 24 priority countries

South Korea provides most of its ODA in the form of bilat-          •• Asia (11): Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
eral funding. In 2017, the South Korean government                        Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines,
channeled US$1.7 billion bilaterally or 74% of total ODA,                 Sri Lanka, Vietnam
according to data from the OECD. This was above the av-
erage of the OECD Development Assistance Committee                  •• Africa (7): Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda,
(DAC, 60%). The government plans to keep the share of                     Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda
ODA spent bilaterally at about 70% for the period 2016 to
2020.                                                               •• Middle East/Central Asia (2): Azerbaijan, Uzbeki-
Loans accounted for 39% of South Korea’s bilateral ODA
in 2017, more than four times the DAC average of 9%.                •• Latin America (4): Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay,
South Korea’s emphasis on loans can be explained by the                   Peru.
Ministry of Economy and Finance’s strong preference for
promoting fiscal discipline in recipient countries and by
the positive experience South Korea itself had with this
instrument when it was an ODA recipient. The Ministry             Who are South Korea’s ODA recipients?
of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, is in favor of dis-
bursing ODA as grants to prevent higher levels of debt in         South Korea’s bilateral ODA is concentrated in Asia
partner countries. Nonetheless, the government plans to           South Korea’s bilateral assistance has a clear focus on
maintain a stable, high share of loans.                           Asia, particularly its Southeast Asian neighbors. Fund-
                                                                  ing to Asia was on average 45% of bilateral ODA between
South Korea channels most of its bilateral grants and             2015 and 2017. The largest recipient over this time was Vi-
loans through its own implementing agencies (83% in               etnam, which received around 12% of bilateral ODA, pre-
2017), mainly KOICA and the Korean Export-Import Bank             dominantly as loans.
(Korea Eximbank). It also seeks to diversify its activities
by promoting public-private partnerships such as the              South Korea has 24 priority countries for ODA. Eleven of
‘Global Corporate Social Responsibility Program’, which           them are in the Asia-Pacific region, seven in sub-Saharan
promotes the involvement of the South Korean private              Africa, four in Latin America, and two in Central Asia
sector in development cooperation. Despite this goal, the         (see box). The focus on Asia has been reaffirmed by the
share of funding channeled through public-private part-           2019 International Cooperation Action Plan, which allo-
nerships was only 1% in 2017, and that channelled                 cates 39% of bilateral ODA to the Asia-Pacific region (up
through private sector institutions was 0.3%.                     from 37% in 2018), 22% to sub-Saharan Africa (an increase
                                                                  from 18% in 2018), and 5% to the Middle East and Central
Infrastructure is a focus area of bilateral cooperation           Asia (a decrease from 12% in 2018). South Korea’s priority
                                                                  countries are mostly neighboring countries, many of
Supporting infrastructure through loans is a key area of          which are middle-income countries (MICs).
South Korea’s bilateral ODA investments. In 2017, the
government disbursed 17% of its bilateral ODA to infra-           MICs received almost half (46%) of South Korea’s bilater-
structure projects, down from 20% in 2016. Most of this           al ODA in 2017, well above the average of OECD DAC
funding was in the form of loans to Asian countries (70%).        members (33%). At 37%, South Korea’s funding to low-in-
Other key areas of bilateral cooperation include educa-           come countries (LICs) is also far above the OECD average
tion (13% of bilateral ODA in 2017); health and population        (24%).
(12%); water and sanitation (10%), and agriculture, in-
cluding rural development (8%).                                   For a deeper understanding of funding at the recipient
                                                                  level, please consult data from the International Aid
                                                                  Transparency Initiative (IATI). IATI is a reporting stand-
                                                                  ard and platform on which organizations and govern-
                                                                  ments voluntarily publish data on their development co-

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operation, including more recent activity than is               other filters. Click here for more information on IATI’s
available through OECD data.                                    data. Click here to go directly to IATI’s ‘d-portal’, a us-
                                                                er-friendly interface for data searches.
Data can be searched by recipient country, the ‘publisher’
(including funders that do not report to the OECD), and

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                                             KEY QUESTIONS
                                                        the big six

Who are the main actors in South Korea's
development cooperation?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Strategy                minister (who chairs the CIDC), 14 cabinet members, the
and Finance steer policy; KOICA and the Korea Ex-                   president of KOICA, the chair of the Korea Eximbank,
imbank implement                                                    and seven experts.

The president of South Korea leads the government and               The CIDC was established in 2006 and has since adopted
sets broad strategic guidelines for development coopera-            major policies including the ‘Strategic Plan for Interna-
tion. The president’s directions are honored by minis-              tional Development Cooperation for 2016-2020’ and an-
tries and agencies, including on ODA volumes and the-               nual ODA implementation plans. The CIDC meets ap-
matic priorities. Moon Jae-in (Democratic Party) has                proximately three times a year. The Sub-Committee for
been president of South Korea since 2017, following the             Evaluation – composed of the directors-general of MOFA
impeachment of the previous president, Park Geun-hye.               and MOEF, executives from KOICA and Korea Eximbank,
Moon appointed Lee Nak-yeon as prime minister shortly               as well as nine representatives from academia and civil
after his inauguration. Within the prime minister’s of-             society – meets usually before each CIDC meeting. The
fice, Young Hyun Jang is Director-General of the ODA Bu-            sub-committee reviews the alignment of South Korea’s
reau.                                                               ODA spending with the Sustainable Development Goals
                                                                    (SDGs) agenda and gives advice to CIDC.
Under the overall policy and decision-making authority
of the president, two ministries guide the definition of            Bilateral ODA priorities are articulated by the govern-
development policy: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs                 ment in the Strategic Plan for International Development
(MOFA) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance                      Cooperation for 2016 to 2020. Programming of bilateral
(MOEF, formerly the Ministry of Strategy and Finance).              funding for priority countries is set through Country
                                                                    Partnership Strategies (CPS). CPSs cover periods of three
•• MOFA, led by Kyung-wha Kang since 2017, sets poli-               to five years, to match recipient countries’ national plan-
     cies and priorities for bilateral grants and multilateral      ning cycles; the strategies set out two to three priority
     ODA channeled through the UN and other multilater-             sectors. In its latest Peer Review, published in 2018, the
     al instruments, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,         OECD found that CIDC involvement in priority setting
     Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund). Bilateral             has supported strengthened quality assurance and re-
     grants are implemented by the Korea International              sults management in South Korea’s development cooper-
     Cooperation Agency (KOICA), which is supervised by             ation. Desk officers have a great deal of discretion over
     the MOFA (see below). Within MOFA, a director-gener-           priority sectors at the country level and are decided dur-
     al (currently Oh Hyun-joo) is responsible for the devel-       ing the update of the CPS (every three to five years).
     opment cooperation bureau.
                                                                    Based on a CPS, South Korean policy-makers develop
•• MOEF, currently led by Hong Nam-ki, sets policies for            concrete project proposals for the following year. This
     ODA loans and manages contributions to multilateral            process, occurring between July and September, is coor-
     development banks. It also supervises South Korea’s            dinated by inter-agency committees led by MOFA and
     Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF),                  MOEF, as well as the CIDC. Once proposals are developed,
     which finances bilateral loans, and the Export-Import          the MOEF can still veto any grant or loan; this has hap-
     Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) that implements                 pened repeatedly in the past.
     them (see below). In addition, the MOEF sets the na-
     tional budget, and its Budget Office can also veto             •• KOICA is another key player in the implementation of
     MOFA grants and loans that do not meet project-ap-                 development policy in South Korea. KOICA was found-
     proval criteria. Within MOEF, a director-general (cur-             ed in 1991 and is responsible for providing bilateral
     rently Heo Jang) is responsible for the development fi-            grants and technical cooperation. Over the past 20
     nance bureau.                                                      years, almost half of total ODA spending (46%) and
                                                                        three-quarters of all grants (75%) were provided by
Major ODA-related policies are decided by the Committee                 KOICA through country offices in 28 partner coun-
for International Development Cooperation (CIDC). The                   tries. KOICA elected its first female president, Mi-
CIDC is composed of 25 members and includes the prime                   kyung Lee, in November 2017.

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•• EDCF was established in 1987, with the purpose of pro-         and Unification Committee is responsible for develop-
     moting economic cooperation between South Korea              ment cooperation and can change overall ODA spending
     and partner countries through loans. The direction of        amounts and specific allocations through its Sub-Com-
     EDCF operations and policy-making responsibilities           mittee on Budget. The Parliament also provides the legal
     rest with the MOEF. The Korea Export-Import Bank             basis for South Korea’s ODA policies, for example by ap-
     (Eximbank) manages and implements EDCF loans.                proving the Framework Act on International Develop-
     The Eximbank was established in 1976 to support              ment Cooperation in 2010.
     South Korea’s economic development through
     strengthened exports, imports, and overseas invest-          Civil Society: South Korean civil society organizations
     ments projects. Its goals include the promotion of eco-      (CSOs) are involved in policymaking, yet they have raised
     nomic cooperation with developing countries, devel-          concerns in recent years that the government has only
     opment of South Korea’s strategic industries, and            consulted them in ad-hoc and selective ways. There are
     unification with North Korea.                                seven CSO delegates on the CIDC out of a total of 25 mem-
                                                                  bers. CSOs play a minor role in implementing South Ko-
Parliament: The National Assembly of the Republic of              rea’s ODA. In 2017, only 3% of South Korea’s bilateral ODA
Korea, the Parliament, can influence the direction of             was channeled through CSOs, an increase from 2% in
South Korea’s development policy and budget. The Na-              2016, but well below the average of member countries of
tional Assembly votes on, amends as necessary, and ulti-          the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC,
mately approves the budget bill presented by the govern-          17%).
ment. Within the National Assembly, the Foreign Affairs

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                                          KEY QUESTIONS
                                                     the big six

How is South Korea's ODA budget structured?

MOFA and MOEF manage three-quarters of ODA                         Overview:                                        millions    billions
budget; the budget is very prescriptive                            South Korea's ODA budget 2019                        US$        KRW
                                                                   Ministry of Strategy and Finance                     1,178      1,331
The majority (73%) of South Korean ODA is provided by               Bilateral                                          1060        1,198
the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF, US$1.2 bil-
                                                                       Economic Development Cooperation
lion, 42% of total ODA in 2019) and the Ministry of For-               Fund loans
                                                                                                                       1009        1,141
eign Affairs (MOFA, US$891 million, 31%). The remaining
                                                                       Grants                                             50         57
27% is spread across 41 other ministries and agencies.
                                                                    Multilateral (assessed and voluntary
                                                                    contributions incl. Global Agriculture and           118        133
South Korea’s overall ODA budget includes breakdowns                Food Security Program)
by sector, region, ministry, and implementing agency. It           Ministry of Foreign Affairs                           891       1,007
also sets out how much funding is allocated to bilateral
                                                                    Bilateral grants                                    800         905
and multilateral channels within each ministry’s budget.
                                                                       Projects and programs                            363         410
In addition, the annual budget lists concrete activities to
be funded from each ministry’s budget. This leads to                   Technical assistance                              177        200
very limited ministerial discretion over their respective              Development consultation and other
                                                                                                                         194        219
budgets once each has been approved by the parliament.                 spending
                                                                       Public-private partnerships                        57         64
The 2019 budget prescribes that 78% will be disbursed as               Admin costs                                        10          12
bilateral ODA and 22% to multilaterals. Within bilateral            Multilateral (assessed and voluntary
assistance, 54% will be allocated as grants and 46% as              contributions incl. Gavi and UNITAID and              91        102
concessional loans. South Korea will also continue to fo-           part of funding for the Global Fund)

cus its development cooperation on Asia and Africa, with           Other ministries                                      124         141
the latter receiving around 22% of bilateral ODA.                   Ministry of Health (incl. part of funding for
                                                                                                                          48         54
                                                                    the Global Fund)
Within individual agencies, most of MOEF’s ODA budget               Ministry of Agriculture (incl. Food and
is delivered bilaterally (90%), almost exclusively as loans         Agriculture Organization, International               68          77
                                                                    Fund for Agricultural Development)
through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund
                                                                   International financial institutions                 494         558
(EDCF). Only a small amount (US$50 million, 5% of
MOEF’s bilateral ODA) is delivered as grant funding. The           UN and other agencies (including UNDP,
                                                                                                                         131        148
                                                                   WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, UN Women)
rest of MOEF’s budget (US$118 million) comes in the form
of assessed and voluntary contributions to multilateral            Total ODA spending                                   2831      3,200
organizations and international financial institutions.

The ODA-related budget of MOFA comprises two major
funding lines, for bilateral grants and multilateral organ-
izations. Bilateral grants account for 90% of MOFA’s ODA,
broken down into projects/programs, technical assis-
tance (channeled through KOICA), and funding delivered
through public-private partnerships. MOFA’s multilater-
al ODA comprises assessed contributions to internation-
al organizations and voluntary contributions to interna-
tional organizations.

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                                             KEY QUESTIONS
                                                        the big six

What are important milestones in South Korea’s
annual budget process?

Overall ODA levels are set by MOEF between January                  •• The CIDC debates budget allocations: Between
and April; specific allocations are made between                        July and September, ministries that have a role in dis-
July and October                                                        persing ODA negotiate their sectoral and geographic
                                                                        allocations. This process is led by the Committee for
•• Ministries submit medium-term finance plans:                         International Development Cooperation (CIDC). It in-
     Until the end of January, each ministry submits a me-              cludes expert consultations followed by a review by
     dium-term spending plan to the Ministry of Economy                 the cabinet.
     and Finance (MOEF). On this basis, the MOEF draws
     up budget guidelines including spending limits for             •• The government submits its draft budget: By the
     each ministry.                                                     beginning of September, the government submits its
                                                                        draft budget to the Parliament (National Assembly) for
•• Ministries develop budgets: Between May and                          debate, amendments, and approval. Once the budget
     June, ministries develop their budgets for the coming              has been submitted, committees within the National
     year, based on the limits set by the MOEF. At this stage,          Assembly review the draft budget in detail. The For-
     relevant ministries, particularly the Ministry of For-             eign Affairs and Unification Committee is responsible
     eign Affairs (MOFA), develop proposals for sectoral                for the ODA budget. Following the review, the Special
     and geographic allocations of ODA. Key stakeholders                Committee on Budget and Accounts conducts an over-
     are the directors-general of the ministries, as they               all review of the budget draft.
     submit the ministerial budgets for review in June.
                                                                    •• Parliament approves the budget: In December, the
                                                                        National Assembly votes on the ODA budget in a ple-
                                                                        nary session.

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South Korea’s global health ODA

Global health is one of South Korea’s five priority is-             (KOFIH). KOICA’s mid-term health strategy for 2016 to
sues; it spends above DAC average share of ODA on                   2020 highlights the importance of health as a human
the sector                                                          right and essential factor for socioeconomic develop-
                                                                    ment. According to the strategy, South Korea’s goal is to
South Korea’s total health ODA stood at US$255 million              contribute to the achievement of universal health objec-
in 2016 (the latest year for which complete data is availa-         tives by improving access to quality health and medical
ble), equivalent to 10% of total ODA. This is above the av-         services and care for all.
erage share of ODA spent on health by other members of
the OECD DAC (8%).                                                  South Korea is scaling up its focus on family planning
                                                                    and reproductive rights. The United Nations Population
Global health has been a priority issue in South Korea’s            Fund (UNFPA) opened a regional office in Seoul, South
long-term development policy since its inclusion in the             Korea, in February 2019. The office is intended to
Strategic Plan for International Development Coopera-               strengthen the organization’s engagement with South
tion for 2016 to 2020. In South Korea’s annual Interna-             Korea on matters related to public health, sexual and re-
tional Development Cooperation Action Plan for 2019,                productive health, and an ageing population. UNFPA
health is one of five top priorities for the year, with a focus     and South Korea plan to cooperate in implementing
on improving the environment for health and medicines               South Korea’s 'Action with Women and Peace' initiative,
by building capacities of hospitals and medical care.               launched last year. In addition, a South Korean diplomat
                                                                    is serving as the president of the executive board of
Three of the four flagship development initiatives that             UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, providing an opportunity for
were abolished in 2017 had a health focus. Although the             South Korea to play a bridging role between developed
initiatives themselves ended due to a presidential im-              and developing countries and among different stake-
peachment process and subsequent change in govern-                  holders.
ment, the health budget has been protected and the com-
mitted funding over the five-year period will be used to            South Korea channeled around 15%, or US$38 million, of
fund government programs with a similar focus. The ini-             its total health ODA multilaterally in 2016 (the latest year
tiatives included the ‘Better Life for Girls’ initiative sup-       for which complete multilateral data is available). This is
ported projects on girls’ health and education (US$200              far below the OECD DAC average (56%). Assessed contri-
million; funding will now be mainly re-allocated to ma-             butions to the World Bank and the World Health Organi-
ternal and child health projects.) The ‘Science, Technolo-          zation (WHO) accounted for 68% of this amount (Interna-
gy and Innovation for Better Life’ initiative aimed to pro-         tional Development Association (IDA) 33%, WHO 29%,
mote science capacity, research and development, and                International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
entrepreneurship (US$200 million). The ‘Safe Life for all’          (IBRD) 5%). The remaining 32% went to Gavi, the Vaccine
initiative focused on combatting infectious diseases                Alliance (Gavi; 11%), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tu-
(US$100 million). Lastly, the ‘Better Education for Afri-           berculosis and Malaria (Global Fund; 10%), regional de-
ca’s Rise’ initiative aimed to foster industrial and techni-        velopment banks (8%), and UN organizations (3%).
cal manpower (another US$100 million). As South Korea
increases it ODA budget in coming years, funding for                South Korea has pledged US$15 million to Gavi for the pe-
health is expected to also increase.                                riod 2019 to 2021. At the Global Fund’s sixth replenish-
                                                                    ment, South Korea pledged US$25 million for 2020-2022.
Bilateral investments were US$209 million in 2017 (the              South Korea contributes to UNITAID, a global health re-
latest year for which bilateral data is available), at a simi-      search and development initiative focused on tuberculo-
lar level to 2016 (US$217 million). Within bilateral health         sis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and hepatitis C. It has pledged
ODA, funding focused on medical services (29%), basic               US$15 million to UNITAID for the period 2019 to 2021,
health infrastructure (18%), health policy and adminis-             which represents a 15% increase in annual contributions
trative services (10%), reproductive health care (10%), and         compared to its 2013 to 2018 contribution. South Korea
basic health care (9%).                                             contributed US$2 million to the Global Polio Eradication
                                                                    Initiative (GPEI) in 2018, but there is no disbursement
Bilateral funding is largely channeled through the Korea            planned for 2019. Funding for Gavi, the Global Fund,
International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the pub-               UNITAID, and the GPEI is raised through an air-ticket
lic Korea Foundation for International Healthcare                   solidarity levy on international flights, which is pooled in

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and disbursed from the ‘Global Disease Eradication               The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Ko-
Fund’.                                                           rea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) are
                                                                 also engaged in improving global health. Their global
South Korea’s global health policy is largely determined         health programs include medical and health-care assis-
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Within MOFA,          tance programs, including the provision of medical de-
the Development Policy Division leads on developing              vices, equipment, and disaster relief. MOHW is responsi-
global health policies. The Multilateral Development Co-         ble for core and voluntary contributions to the WHO.
operation and Humanitarian Assistance Division man-
ages relations with multilateral health initiatives such as
the Global Fund and Gavi.

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South Korea’s global health R&D

Global health R&D is not a strategic priority; limited
funding focuses on vaccine development and ty-                       Further information: G-FINDER
                                                                     G-FINDER is a data source developed by Policy Cures
Research and development for poverty-related and ne-                 Research that provides information on global
glected diseases (PRNDs; referred to as ‘global health               investments into R&D for neglected diseases.
R&D’ in this profile) is not a focus of South Korea’s devel-         Figures in this section are based on the G-FINDER
opment assistance for health. The South Korean govern-               survey, which covers basic research and product-re-
ment spent US$2.7 million in 2017, according to the 2018             lated R&D (drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics) for a
G-FINDER report, produced by Policy Cures. Despite not               select group of diseases The G-FINDER scope has
being a top donor, this funding is significant an increase           been defined by an expert committee, in line with
over the US$550,000 it invested in 2016.                             three criteria: the disease disproportionally affects
                                                                     people in developing countries, there is a need for
In 2017, most funding (US$2 million) went to the Seoul-              new products, and the commercial incentives are
based International Vaccine Institute (IVI) for a Product            insufficient to attract R&D from private industry.
Development Partnership (PDP) dedicated to research in
vaccine development and delivery for partner countries.              For more information:
The remaining US$723,000 (one-quarter of all R&D fund-
ing) went to the Korean Institute of Tuberculosis, a gov-
ernment research institution. These figures may differ
from the trend numbers presented in the chart due to              (RIGHT) Fund. The same level of funding (KRW6.1 billion
changes in the scope of the G-FINDER survey from year             in core contributions and KRW5 billion for the RIGHT
to year.                                                          Fund) is planned for 2020.

In 2019, South Korea plans to increase its support to the         South Korea’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention
IVI and has budgeted KRW6.1 billion (US$5 million) in             (CDC) takes on the lead role for disease control in South
core funding, and an addition KRW5 billion (US$4 mil-             Korea. Within the CDC, the Risk Assessment and Interna-
lion) in earmarked funding for the establishment of the           tional Cooperation Division under the Emergency Opera-
‘Research Investment for Global Health Technology’                tions Bureau manages operations in partner countries.

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South Korea’s education ODA

Education is a top priority; focus is on quality of ed-
ucation, inclusiveness, and vocational training                      Further information: ‘basic’ and ‘general’
South Korea is the seventh-largest donor country to glob-
al education, spending US$278 million on education offi-             In this profile, ‘basic education’ refers to the OECD
cial development assistance (ODA) in 2016 (the latest year           Creditor Reporting System (CRS) sector code ‘basic
for which complete data is available). Education is a top            education’ (112), which includes primary education,
priority of South Korea’s development portfolio: In 2016,            basic skills for youths and adults, and early child-
the country spent 11% of its total ODA on education, rank-           hood education. ‘General education’ refers to the
ing sixth among the Organisation for Economic Co-oper-               OECD CRS sector code ‘education, level unspeci-
ation and Development’s Development Assistance Com-                  fied’, which includes education policy and adminis-
mittee (OECD DAC) donor countries in relative terms.                 trative management, education facilities and train-
This is well above the average spent on education by oth-            ing, teacher training, and educational research.
er donor countries (8%). If costs of scholarships and other
costs of students from partner countries studying in
South Korea are excluded, education ODA decreases to
US$240 million in 2016. These costs are reportable as             Most bilateral funding is allocated to ‘post-secondary ed-
ODA but do not constitute cross-border financial flows.           ucation’, which accounted for 41% of bilateral ODA in
                                                                  2017 and includes costs of hosting international students
South Korea considers education a key sector through              in South Korea (US$43 million in 2017). These costs are
which it can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals            reported as ODA but do not constitute cross-border finan-
(SDGs). Education is one of five priorities of South Korea’s      cial flows. The next largest area to receive funding in 2017
2019 International Development Cooperation Plan of Ac-            was vocational training, which accounted for 19% of bi-
tion, with a focus on information and communication               lateral ODA to education. Smaller shares were spent on
technology-based education systems. Education fea-                ‘basic education’ (18%) and ‘secondary education’ (12%).
tured prominently in South Korea’s four flagship initia-
tives launched in 2016. Three of the four initiatives had a       This funding pattern is in line with South Korea’s priori-
focus on education: ‘Better Life for Girls’ (US$200 mil-          ties for education as outlined in ‘KOICA’s education mid-
lion), focusing on girls’ education and health; ‘Science,         term strategy 2016-2020’. The strategy envisions “inclu-
Technology and Innovation for Better Life’ (US$200 mil-           sive development through quality education”, and its
lion); and ‘Better Education for Africa’s Rise’ (US$100           mission is “to ensure rights to education for all by
million). Although the initiatives themselves were dis-           strengthening education systems in partner countries”.
continued during the presidential impeachment in 2017             The strategy outlines three strategic objectives which are
and the election of a new government, the education               linked to the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4
budget has been protected and much of the committed               (‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and
funding allocated to other government programs with an            promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’):
education focus. Gender equality, linked to girls’ educa-
tion, remains a cross-cutting issue of South Korea’s de-          1. Quality education and learning achievement;
velopment policy.                                                 2. Inclusive education for disadvantaged groups;
                                                                  3. Improving skills and technology for work by identify-
South Korea’s bilateral education focuses on sup-                     ing skill shortages in local labor markets.
port for post-secondary education
                                                                  South Korea’s bilateral education ODA is focused on Asia:
South Korea’s bilateral education ODA was US$221 mil-             37% of all bilateral ODA to education went to the region in
lion in 2017, slightly down from US$253 million in 2016.          2017. 24% was invested in sub-Saharan Africa the same
Looking ahead, education ODA, as one of South Korea’s             year. Education is a focus sector in 15 of the 24 priority
priority sectors, could be expected to increase moderate-         countries of South Korea’s development assistance. Sev-
ly in line with the overall expectations for a growing ODA        en of these priority countries are in Africa; eight are in
budget.                                                           Asia.

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South Korea provides most multilateral education                which laid out a vision for global education policy for the
ODA to the World Bank                                           coming 15 years. A key outcome of the forum was that
                                                                countries agreed on a goal of spending 4% to 6% of gross
South Korea is not a major provider of multilateral ODA to      domestic product (GDP) and/or 15% to 20% of total public
education, spending only US$25 million in 2016 (the lat-        expenditure on education in order to achieve the Educa-
est year for which complete data is available), represent-      tion 2030 agenda.
ing 9% of its total education ODA that year. Most of this
funding was channeled in the form of core contributions         MOFA’s Development Cooperation Bureau guides in-
to the World Bank (69%) and the Asian Development               ternational education policy
Bank (19%). South Korea has increased its multilateral
engagement in education since becoming a member of              MOFA drives the formulation of South Korea’s global ed-
the OECD DAC. It joined the Global Partnership for Edu-         ucation policy. Within MOFA, the Development Policy
cation (GPE) in 2014. South Korea has budgeted to con-          Bureau is responsible for developing policies (specifically
tribute KRW770 million (US$680,000) to GPE in 2019,             the Development Policy Divisions within the Bureau).
and KRW824 million (US$730,000) in 2020. By the end of          MOFA’s Multilateral Development Cooperation Division
2020, South Korea will have provided a total of KRW5.7          manages relations with multilateral education initiatives
billion (US$5 million) to GPE.                                  such as GPE. KOICA (overseen by MOFA) is responsible
                                                                for the implementation of bilateral grants and other tech-
South Korea held the 2015 World Education Forum in              nical cooperation. The Korea Eximbank implements pro-
Incheon, South Korea, where stakeholders identified key         jects for the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF),
elements of the ‘Education 2030: Framework for Action’,         mainly in the form of ODA loans.

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South Korea’s agriculture ODA

Rural development is a key priority of South Korean               to climate change. In addition, agriculture is a priority
development cooperation                                           sector of South Korea’s 2019 International Development
                                                                  Cooperation Plan, with a specific priority for improving
South Korea’s ODA for agriculture (which, as a sector cat-        the self-reliance of rural areas through comprehensive
egory, includes forestry and fisheries) and rural develop-        rural development programs, training, and agricultural
ment stood at US$176 million in 2016 (the latest year for         technology.
which complete data is available), accounting for 7% of
total ODA. This is on par with the average of other mem-          Less than a quarter (US$40 million, or 23%) of agricul-
bers of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and            ture ODA was channeled multilaterally in 2016, which
Development's Development Assistance Committee                    was well below the OECD DAC average of 45%. The largest
(OECD DAC).                                                       share of this was made up of contributions to the World
                                                                  Bank through the International Development Associa-
South Korea has identified rural development as a priori-         tion (IDA; 45%), the Food and Agriculture Organization
ty sector of its development policy, with the view that it        of the UN (FAO; 26%), and regional development banks
can share best practices in this area from its own history        (18%).
as a developing country. The focus on rural development
is based on the country’s promotion of ‘Saemaul Undong’           South Korea pledged US$69 million to the Global Agri-
(New Village Movement) – a community-based approach               culture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) for 2011 to
that improved local economies in the South Korean coun-           2015 and an additional US$15 million in 2016. South Ko-
tryside in the 1970s. Although the movement is associat-          rea has budgeted to support the World Food Programme
ed with former President Park Chung-hee, the father of            (WFP) with KRW110 million (US$97,000 million) in con-
impeached President Park Geun-hye, it has retained sup-           tributions in 2019 and KRW 113 million (US$100,000) in
port from the current government. The Korea Interna-              2020; the FAO with KRW6.1 billion (US$5 million) in core
tional Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Ministry of Pub-           and voluntary contributions in 2019; and the Interna-
lic Administration, and regional governments are still            tional Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with
implementing Saemaul Undong projects. Rural develop-              KRW3.9 billion (US$3 million) in 2019 and KRW4.4 bil-
ment is expected to remain a priority of South Korean,            lion (US$4 million) in 2020. The FAO opened a partner-
and Saemeul Undong will likely remain a key program for           ships and liaison office in Seoul in May 2019 to strength-
implementation. Saemaul Undong agriculture develop-               en collaboration between South Korea and the
ment projects in Laos, Vietnam, and Ethiopia were                 organization.
among South Korea’s largest agriculture investments in
2017, all with a focus on local participation and sharing         Offices within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs steer
best practices.                                                   agriculture strategy

South Korea channeled US$132 million to agriculture               The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) leads on the de-
ODA bilaterally in 2017, at a similar level to 2016 (US$136       velopment of policies related to agriculture and rural de-
million). Bilateral ODA focused on agricultural develop-          velopment. The Development Policy Division, within
ment (34%), rural development (18%), and agricultural             MOFA’s Development Cooperation Bureau, leads on de-
water resources (10%). Other subsectors receive only              veloping ODA policies, including on agriculture. The
smaller shares of funding.                                        Multilateral Development Cooperation and Humanitari-
                                                                  an Assistance Division manages relations with multilat-
KOICA has identified ‘inclusive and sustainable rural de-         eral agricultural organizations like WFP. In addition, the
velopment’ as one of its three priority sectors in its ‘Agri-     Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, specifi-
culture and Rural Development Mid-Term Strategy 2016-             cally its International Cooperation Bureau, allocates
2020’. The other priorities are sustainable production            some additional funding to agriculture and food-related
and expanding market access, and conservation of rural            projects including contributions to FAO, WFP, and IFAD.
production system and natural resources by responding

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South Korea’s nutrition ODA

Nutrition is a focus of South Korea’s new global
health strategy; funding is low but increasing                      Nutrition-specific:
                                                                    Interventions that address underlying causes of
South Korea has not made nutrition one of its top five pri-         malnutrition and that take into account cross-sector
ority issues in its overall development policy. However,            actions and impacts (i.e. improving access to diverse
the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has              foods).
identified ensuring the stable supply of key nutrients and
creating a self-sustaining environment where communi-               Nutrition-sensitive:
ties leverage their resources to adequately supply nutri-           Interventions that address immediate causes of
ents as one of its focus areas within its mid-term health           undernutrition and have the improvement of nutrition
strategy for 2016 to 2020. The strategy emphasizes exclu-           (i.e. support for exclusive breastfeeding, supple-
sive breastfeeding, preventing and treating malnutri-               mentary feeding, etc.) as their primary objective.
tion, community-based nutrition, and supplying essen-
tial micronutrients for pregnant women and children.

According to data from the Organisation for Economic             The Ministry of Foreign Affairs leads South Korea’s
Co-operation and Development (OECD), South Korea                 nutrition strategy development
spent US$5 million on basic nutrition in 2017. US$3 mil-
lion alone was for a single investment in Afghanistan to         South Korea’s nutrition policy is largely defined by the
support the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)              Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The Development
work strengthening maternal and child nutrition. Dis-            Policy Division, within MOFA’s Development Coopera-
bursements in 2017 were lower than in 2016 (US$8 mil-            tion Bureau, is responsible for nutrition policies. The
lion) but an increase over 2015, when South Korea spent          Multilateral Development Cooperation and Humanitari-
US$3 million.                                                    an Assistance Division manages relations with multilat-
                                                                 eral organizations like the World Food Programme (WFP).
South Korea does not participate in the reporting frame-
work set by the ‘Scaling Up Nutrition’ (SUN) initiative to       The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and
track nutrition-sensitive interventions. The country also        its International Cooperation Bureau are also engaged in
did not make a commitment to Nutrition for Growth, an            nutrition policy. The ministry’s total ODA budget for food
initiative where participating countries signed on to a          and agricultural projects is KRW77 billion (US$68 mil-
‘global compact’ to improve nutrition and made a range           lion) in 2019. Its funding request for 2020 is for an in-
of international commitments.                                    creased budget of KRW85.5 billion (US$76 million).

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                                                   END NOTES
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